28, Jul 2022 | CJP Team
Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has helped yet another person defend their Indian citizenship before a Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) in Assam. On July 27, 2022, our team gave a copy of a favourable order to Asiya Bibi, bringing the hapless woman much relief.
The positive resolution of her case comes close at the heels of a similar victory in the case of Mohan Roy of Barpeta. Earlier this month, with CJP’s help, Mohan Roy, the son of Bangladeshi refugees who were naturalized as Indian citizens, was able to prove his case before a FT in Assam.
Asiya Bibi, whose family had been forced to migrate due to floods, had faced as many as three different FT cases! But CJP’s legal team helped her present a written statement and all supporting documents to prove herself Indian.
Every day of each week, a formidable team of community volunteers, district volunteer motivators and lawyers—CJP’s Team Assam – is providing ready at hand paralegal guidance, counselling and actual legal aid to hundreds of individuals and families paralysed by the citizenship-driven humanitarian crisis in the state. Our boots on the ground approach has ensured that 12,00,000 persons filled their forms to enlist in the NRC (2017-2019) and over the past one year alone we have helped release over 50 people from Assam’s dreaded detention camps. Our intrepid team provides paralegal assistance to, on an average of 72-96 families each month. Our district-level, legal team works on 25 Foreigner Tribunal cases month on month. This ground level data ensures informed interventions by CJP in our Constitutional Courts, the Guwahati High Court and the Supreme Court. Such work is possible because of you, individuals all over India, who believe in this work. Our maxim, Equal Rights for All. #HelpCJPHelpAssam. Donate NOW!
Brief background of the case
Asiya Bibi was born to Lt Abdul Hai and Romisha Bewa in Tekona village, which falls under the jurisdiction of Lakhipur police station in the Goalpara district of Assam. Her father was also born at the same village, but he died before 1966, leaving behind five children. She was raised by her older brother Nurut Jaman.
However, Abdul Hai’s name had been duly recorded in the National Register of Citizens (NRC) of 1951, after his death, Romisha Bewa’s name was recorded in the 1966,1971’s voter list and so on.
Later, Asiya Bibi married Alauddin Sheikh, son of Abbas Sheikh, from Padmarvita village, which falls under Fakiganj police station of Dhubri district of Assam. Her name was recorded in voters list for the first time along with her husband in 1985, under the Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC) of Jaleswar.
In 2004, due to the erosion of the river Brahmaputra, Asiya Bibi and her husband had to shift to Barvita village, which falls under the jurisdiction of Krishnai police station of Goalpara district of Assam, India. However, they continued to vote at their previous place, i.e Padmarvita village of Jaleswar LAC.
But this did not stop the authorities from registering three different FT cases against Asiya Bibi in 2007, 2016 and 2020 (Cases- 164/2007, 1507/K/16 and GFT(2)/645/2020).
CJP steps in
Asiya Bibi had been served notice on January 27, 2022, and she feared that she would be taken to a detention camp. Her son offered her comfort and she approached CJP for help. On February 1, 2022, Goalpara District Volunteer Motivator Zesmin Sultana and Roshminara Begum met Asiya Bibi on behalf of the CJP team at her home in Barvita village.
We found that her financial condition is not so good. Our team collected her documents and sent them to CJP Assam state team in-charge Nanda Ghosh, who discussed the matter in detail with CJP Assam legal team member Advocate Ashim Mobarak. After that, our team went to her house for 5 to 6 days to compile and verify her documentation, so that we could pursue her case in the Goalpara FT.
Then, with the help of Adv. Ashim Mubarak, Asiya Bibi filed a written statement before the FT stating that she was an Indian Citizen by birth, and also produced various documents in support of her statement. These included a copy of the 1951 NRC data with her father’s name, and certified copies of 1966 and 1971 voters lists, where her mother Romisha Bewa’s name was recorded. She also submitted that she had studied up to class IV at the Katarihara LP school in 1971, and produced a certificate from the school. She also submitted certified copies of voters lists of 1985, 1997, 2005, 2010, and 2015, along with her voter ID. She also submitted a copy of the certificate from the Village secretary recording her transfer from her natal village to her marital village (Gaon Burah certificate).
The FT carefully examined all these documents and found her to be an Indian citizen by birth.
On July 27, Nanda Ghosh, Zesmin Sultana, Roshminara Begum Adv. Ashim Mubarak, and Community volunteer Zakir Hussain were driven to Asiya Bibi’s house by office car driver Ashikul Hussain, and they handed over the judgment copy to Asiya Bibi.
Finally feeling relieved, she told our team, “Life is very complicated, it is difficult to tell when something will happen…” She told us about shifting to Barvita saying, “At that time many people’s houses were destroyed by flood, many crops were destroyed. We also had some documents that were damaged and some were lost at that time.” She felt that might have been the reason behind the entire ordeal, and expressed gratitude towards CJP, “Thank you all for helping me during this crisis period.”
Advocate Ashim Mubarak said, “I was able to finish the case quite quickly, thanks to the diligent work by DVMs Zesmin and Roshminara with respect to documentation.”
It was almost sunset by the time our team left Asiya Bibi’s home. Nanda Ghosh and Ashikul first dropped the rest of the team home before returning to their own homes, two districts away, by 11 P.M.
A copy of the FT Order may be read here: